Monday, April 7, 2008

(Werner Necro'd) Platinum Plaques and Possums - E-40 Interview

This interview was done way back in 1998... And as you can guess from our super cheesy poses in our photo (hi, TRUNKS!), this was a fun interview. A crazy throwing down of slang, with E-40 talking about everything from his lyrics - a west coast game spitter standing up against the freestyle skill-flexing MCs that were dominating the scene in the late 90's, his independent roots, his movie, and the cartoon he was working on at the time called Patrick the Possum. No, really.

Bet. We're in here with E-40.

What's crackin'?

Who else we got here, with us, today?

We got my boy Omar, Omeezy. My manager Chaz, modulatin'. That's our team.

So how you feelin' New York?

It's cool, it's cool. I've been modulatin'. Everything's cool. it's been nothing but love, nothing but love. Ya smell me?

You got a new album coming out, right?

Yeah. It's out. It's called The Element of Surprise. It's already gold. We're seven weeks into the project. Gonna be platinum, right around the corner. The new single's "Ground Up" featuring me, Too $hort, K-Ci, and JoJo. Back to back knocks on there, twenty-four rumble. Smell me?

So what's the science behind the title, The Element of Surprise?

It's just like, when you least expect it. We all know that, you know what I mean? On this one, I took it all the way back to where I first started at, which was Federal, you know what I'm saying? The album I first came up with, where everybody really grew up on... Like, Federal, where when everybody says, "Your first album, that's the one." So I took it back to that. That's what The Element of Surprise is. They wasn't expecting it, it came at them, just straight back-to-back rumbles. Like that.

Ay-ight... Speaking of your first album, when you first started out, you were just on your own label, Sick Wid It... And then you had kind of a big thing where Jive picked you up. What was the story behind that?

See, Sick Wid It started in 1988. It was grass-root. Straight home-made, home-grown, from the ground up. And, at the time, where we started in our situation, they weren't really checkin' for Bay Area rap. I mean, it was certain groups. You had Digital Underground, you had $hort, and you had some other Bay Area groups that had got signed to a major. But, during that time, when we were looking for a deal, it didn't really crack off. And I'm kinda glad, 'cause it forced us to do our own thug-thizzle. Smell me? So, we got with Jive and got major distribution. Which, that's what we was lackin'. The marbles was there, and everything, but when we got at Jive, we put it down on a national level, where, when you pull up on Sound-Scan, you're gonna see a lot more zeros than when we were just doin' it ourselves. Ya see? That's a thousand there, fifteen hundred there, that's twenty there, ya know I mean? Like that.

Yeah, 'cause I remember reading, when that happened, that was one of the biggest signings of someone who was virtually unknown, like independent.

Exactly. That was the earlier-day signings. Now they got different. You can spit a 16-measure verse, now, on somebody else that was already established's track, that's already in the game, and get a phat-ass deal now, equivalent, ya smell me? but it's all gravy. (Laughs)

And you got a lot of projects poppin' off now, right? You got the movie comin' out... Tell us about that. Charlie Hustle?

I got the Charlie Hustle, the movie of the self-made millionaire. Movie and soundtrack. It's an autobiographical movie. Documentary, pretty much talkin' about, you know, my climb up the ladder. We had to crawl before we walked, woulda took us to the point in our career, now, you know, to be straight-up established and everything, and lettin' everybody know that we didn't just blossom over-night. It wasn't no over-night sensation. Showin' moms and pops stores that delt with us in the past... a little bit of everything. And I got the soundtrack that's gonna go right along with it. I'm not gonna be on everything song, but I'm gonna have guest-appearances on there, so I'ma treat it as if it's my album, ya smell me? It's a good package.

And when's that comin' out?

That's comin' March of '99. It was gonna be November, but I moved it back 'cause I didn't wanna get caught up in the four quarter madness, ya smell me?

So, you also got another project coming out... You got the book coming out, right?

Now ya smell me on this one, right? You know I'm the king of slang, right? So what I did, basically; it was pretty much a street demand. Everybody hollerin' at me, on the street, I been hearin' about this dictionary. "40, man, when ya gonna go and put it down?" So, actually, what I did, I said, "Ok, we're gonna do it for real this time, no lolly-gaggin', no bullshittin', let's make it happen." So, of course I'ma have the fah sheezies, and the playa-hatas, and a lot of the words that a lot of the people are sayin' nowadays across the country which was founded at the Mecca of the game, which was the bay area. And, although I put down about 75% of that , it came up out my head. But, at the same token, it's time for me to go ahead, and lace everybody's tennis shoes, and show 'em what the dictionary book of slang is about. And so when I come with it, it's just gonna have the definitions of just a little bit of everything. It's gonna talk about everything except the yolla-gang (sic.), which is not public knowledge, you smell me? It's crackin'. That's early '99. That's comin' with the gypsiness. That's the motion.

And, really, the illest thing I just read - you've got a cartoon comin' out?

You know what? The cartoon is something in the head that I just gotta put together. It's called, Patrick the Possum. He's this nonchalant cat in the neighborhood. He's got the kangol, he's got the toothpick in his mouth. He's the cat, you know, in every neighborhood, there's a guy who can tie your shoes, and sprinkle you, and lace your tennis shoes, you know what I'm sayin'? Just bring you up, just teach you somethin'. 'Cause it's wisdom. He's older, but he ain't no square. He just modulates and he posts up in the hood and they come up to him. It's kinda like, remember how, Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumly and how they used to go to Mr. Wizard? (Laughs) Remember that? That's how this dude, that's how Patrick the Possum is. But he's just this player-type fool who just knows a little bit of everything. So they go to him for advice in the neighborhood and everything, ya smell me? Like that. There's a whole story-board behind it, but, you know, but it's just bright ideas behind that. That's gonna be in motion soon.

Cool. And before we end this, just one time for the record, break down the whole Sick Wid It family, the projects they got comin' out now.

Ok, for the energy, that's how we're twerkin' it, right? First of all, Sick Wid It Records is the foundation of independent rap music. You smell me? We put it down many years ago. Me and my cousin, B-Legit, my brother D-Shot, and my sister Suga-T. The group is called the Click. First album, Down and Dirty. Sold 350,000 units on the underground, way back in 1992, ya smell me? We had releases before that; there was EP's like, Mr. Flamboyant, Let's Slide, that was our earlier EP's, albums, music that we had, back then, to get us where we at now. But, anyway, we put out Down and Dirty in 1992 and we put out Game Related in 1995. Now we're doin' Rough Ridin' which is gonna hit 'em in '99. During this whole time, we've been having solo projects, ya smell me? I had Mr Flamboyant. I had The Mail Man. I had In a Major Way. I had The Hall of Game. And now I got The Element of Surprise, and, next up is, Charlie Hustle: The Blueprint of a Self-Made. That's me, personally. Then, my cousin B-Legit had B-Legit the Savage: Tryin' To Get a Buck, then he had The Hemp Museum, and now he's workin' on Hempin' Ain't Easy, which is gonna be at you in March. No, that's February, ain't it, Chaz? Chickidee? (Laughs) Then we got D-Shot comin' with his. D-Shot put out, D-Shot the Shot Caller, then he had, D-Shot: Six Figures. And, my sister, she had Suga-T: It's All Good, ya smell me?

Didn't D-Shot also have a compilation album?

Exactly. Boss Ballers One and Two, which both did well, ya smell me? Then, also, we have my cousin Lil' Bruce. I mean, there's just so many artists that came up under that umbrella. Celly-Cell, who, he got that album, The G-Files, written as we speak. We got A-1, comin' out, we got Rhythm and the Resevoir Hoggs, we got my cousin Levitti sung on a whole bunch of underground... just serious ghetto shit, you smell me? We got, uhm... Who else we got crackin'? We got The Mossie, which is my brother Young Mugzie, my cousin Tap That Ass, my cousin Kaveo, you smell me? So we're just continually working. We're gonna hit 'em real hard in '99, and, uh, Sick Wid It Records is the Mecca of the independent game.

Ay-ight, bet. So, you got anything else you wanna say to the fans checkin' this out?

Just tune in. Take time to listen to E-Fonzirelli lyrically. 'Cause, you know, I might not spit strictly metaphors 'cause a lot of people think that if you don't spit constantly metaphors or whatever, however... If you ain't comparing rap, like, "I'm like that chair over there. I can't be sat on." If you ain't doin' that, you're not the dopest rapper in the world, or you're not considered an MC. I'm a game-related-infested, street-slang rapper, you smell me? I got the stop-start and go street-talk delivery. So you might wanna focus. Listen closely. I'm not just throwin' a whole bunch of words that don't fit in a rhyme. Every word counts. Focus on E-40, Fonzirelli. Take time out, go snatch up the records. Go read up on my catalog. Ask some people about me. My dictionary might help a lot of you who don't know about what's crackulatin'. And, just be on the look-out. It's E-Feezy, Fonzireezy, smell me? Sick Wid It records all day.

Today, you know E-Fonzirelli's gonna have a myspace, and here it is. He's also got an official site at From all his projects you read him talking about there, realized and unrealized, it's easy to believe this man now has his own beverage on the market, 40 Water. He also has a new album coming out later this year, The Ball Street Journal. There's no stoppin' this guy.


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